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Healthy Santas Visit Valley Farmers’ Markets

Santa helps little Adam
Santa helps little Adam savor the joy of a raw bell pepper at a local market while approving parents and brother look on.

In farmers’ markets around California a new breed of Santas is making a stand for healthier children. 

Lady Santas
Lady Santas Rosemary and Helen show off no sugar organic baked goods as holiday gifts.

Stunned by the fact that today’s elementary aged kids now experience diet-driven illnesses never seen in this age group just 30 years ago, the old “Ho, Ho, Ho. Have a candy cane” line is no longer acceptable. 

Southern California’s Sustainable Santa Foundation has begun deploying health-promoting Santas into farmers’ markets across the state. Working with participating farmers and vendors, they carry out a three-part program which has been effective in weening kids off the SAD (Standard American Diet) of fast, junk and processed food in favor of eating real food and living a sustainable lifestyle.

The hard part has been finding Santa characters willing to forgo the lucrative business of posing for pictures in the malls while promoting sales of sugary products and endless shopping consumption.

Perhaps the newly established American Corps of Lady Santas (CLaS) modeled after the women Christmas icons of Europe will prove to be the key to helping parents transition their children to choosing the healthy fiber- and nutrition-rich options available at the farmers’ markets. 

Santa or not, farmers’ markets remain the place you can buy “nature’s candy” as they offer a wide variety of dehydrated fruits, nuts, dates, honey sticks and raw fruits like oranges, apples and pomegranates – all which are wrapped by Mother Nature in their own protective coating, says Richard Eckfield founding executive director of the Sustainable Santa Foundation.

“Kids are very much like a car in one way,” says a healthy Santa. “Both need to be fed clean, efficient fuel in order to run efficiently. However, unlike a car whose engine wears out, for the human, if fueled well, the body parts can regenerate and repair themselves. The key is helping kids understand they need to take care of their body as it’s the only place they have to live.”

Megan Goehring, manager of the Certified Farmers’ Market of the Coachella Valley says, “I love the message of the Sustainable Santa organization. The gift of wellness through nutrition can’t be beat, no matter who’s on your list. Our customers, in every age range, can find the best locally-grown treats nature has to offer three times a week.”

If you are interested in becoming a healthy Santa with the Sustainable Santa Foundation, please call Santa’s cell (760) 429.8025 or email

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